Association of Boxing Commissions 1⁄2 Point MMA Judging Committee 2012 Report
Clearwater Florida Annual Conference
MMA Committee on Judging:
Chair Jeff Mullen
Overview ( 2010, 2011, 2012 ABC Conferences ):
In July of 2010 at the Association of Boxing Commissions annual conference in New Orleans a committee was struck to examine MMA judging.
The purpose of this committee was to examine a proposal made by Nelson “Doc” Hamilton to the ABC on the use of the 1⁄2 point judging system for MMA.
Hamilton proposed a scoring system based on breaking the scoring down to half-points, where a close round, a solid win, a dominant win and having the opponent on the verge of defeat could all be differentiated.
Under this system, if a fighter wins a round that's difficult to call, it gets scored 10-9.5. When it's clear that one fighter won the round, it's 10-9. When a fighter dominates the round but doesn't have his opponent in bad shape during the round, or if a fighter does major damage but the opponent gets a degree of offense in, that would be a 10-8.5. A 10-8 round or lower would be similar to how things are scored today.
Under Hamilton’s system, the referee would also be involved in calling catches or submission attempts during the course of the bout. There would also be a 4th judge implemented in the event of draws, which under the 1⁄2 point system would have a great likelihood of occurring.
The goal of the committee was to explore Hamilton’s system to determine if this system could be implemented by the majority of Athletic Commissions that make up the Association of Boxing Commissions membership and to see if this new MMA scoring system would be an improvement on the current 10 point system which most Commissions use today. A report would be submitted a year later at the next ABC annual meeting in Washington D.C.
Conclusion of the Washington DC Conference (2011):
The committee felt that before any new system was to be implemented, that it would have to go through an extensive evaluation phase where the new system was used during the course of normal MMA events: For this to occur several Athletic Commissions would need to volunteer their services and implement this system (or the adapted system - minus the referee involvement and table judge), into their existing judging model and Commission protocols.
Note: For a more detailed report analysis please refer to the 1⁄2 point committee evaluation report which was submitted in its entirety to the ABC membership and entered into the ABC records.
Volunteer Evaluation Commissions / Organizations:
The following Commissions / Organizations volunteered to implement the 1⁄2 point system as a “shadow” system to parallel the existing 10 point must system. The 10 point must system is the current MMA judging system as stated by the Unified Rules of MMA as adopted by the ABC.
1. Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission
2. Colorado State Boxing Commission
3. California State Athletic Commission (throughCAMO)
4. Edmonton Alberta Athletic Commission
The recommendation of the ABC was to ensure that the 1⁄2 point system would not go live but to work in the background ultimately functioning as a comparison between the two systems. These groups would then compare the data of each system to see what effect (if any) the 1⁄2 point system would have on the overall scoring of MMA matches. The data would then be submitted to the ABC Judging Committee for a review and a report to the ABC membership in 2012.
Summary of Findings:
The findings of each Commission are summarized as follows:
Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission
Andy Foster (Georgia) has stated that in their testing that the 1⁄2 point system did not make any difference with respect to the judging. Georgia had said in all of the bouts there was no change in the scores. His recommendation was that the 1⁄2 point system did not do a thing to affect judging.
Colorado State Boxing Commission
Josef Mason (Colorado) advised the committee in a report with the following:
In Colorado the Colorado State Boxing Commission has been regulating MMA bouts since April 2001. With over 15 trained and qualified judges we reviewed and had training in November of 2010 to evaluate the half point system.
Between January 15, 2011 and June 29, 2012 Colorado State Boxing Commission used the half point scoring system for all Non professional bouts. It was used in a manner of all judges would score a round using the 10 point must system and then score the round immediately using the half point system.
The official results were always using the 10 point must system.
In this time over 550 MMA Non Professional bouts occurred in Colorado and not even one bout was changed because of the half bout system being used. Granted that most bouts did not go to the distance to get a proper score after three rounds, but no bouts final decision would of changed by using the half point system.
What I found valuable viewing the half point system scores was having the ability to better train the working Judges by comparing their scorecards. The 10 point system does not allow much variation in scoring but the half point system does. If I noticed a 10-9.5 for two judges in a single round and a 10-9 score from the other judge.
After a year and a half of evaluating the half point system I believe this system may only bring more draws to the sport. I believe the rest of the Commissions will not use this system until after all Commissions have enough qualified officials that can correctly use the current 10 point must system and then and only then can we review the half point system.
In Colorado our MMA judges will not evaluate the half point system any longer. We will focus on the current system with an emphasis on scoring a 10-8 round if the fighter has won a round by a large margin.
California State Athletic Commission
Testing was implemented by the California Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Organization, Inc. (“CAMO”).
CAMO presented an extensive document with an extensive evaluation report. Here is a brief summary of their findings with respect to bout changes as taken from their evaluation report. It should be noted that CAMO utilized the complete system including the table judge in their evaluation.
BOUT RESULT CHANGES:
CAMO has conducted a comparative analysis by which the MMAS scores are converted to the 10-Point-Must system. In this comparative analysis, 2% of the bouts received a different decision under the MMAS System. In other words, using the MMAS system provided a different bout result on occasion. These changes, although not frequent, are very important to consider. The 2% that changed results represented very close bouts where the winner won by a small margin. The finer gradient of the half-point tabulation more closely reflects the action of the fight than the traditional system is able to.
Total Bouts: 389 (100%)
Change in Bout Result: 7 (2%)
Change in Score Card: 38 (10%)
It is also important to note that 10% of the scorecards, represented a different score with the MMAS system. The comparative analysis shows that although the bout result changed only 2% of the time, individual score cards show a different result 10% of the time.
The conclusion as referenced from their report is as follows:
The MMAS system has served the state of California very well this year. Many of the fears or critiques against the MMAS system, specifically the half-point tabulation, are not supported by the data collected in the first year of use. In order to completely understand the MMAS scoring system it is critical that one understands that the system is more than just a half-point tabulation—it involves a more thorough and complete criteria by which points are awarded. The refined criteria that guides a judge to award points is possibly the greatest value in the system. However, the MMAS system does not help a judge who lacks the competency to properly evaluate a round. It may in fact make the judge’s lack of ability more telling. With all things being equal though, and with a competent judge, we believe the MMAS scoring system to be a better system, but as seen by the results it will not dramatically change the decisions being rendered.
Edmonton Alberta Athletic Commission:
Executive Director Pat Reid submitted a report in which he estimated that 4.85% of the tested fights in Edmonton would have received a different decision if the 1⁄2 point system was implemented.
As a result of their evaluations using the 1⁄2 point system, Edmonton recommended that promoters and/or fighters have the option of using the 1⁄2 point system if they wished to do so. The second recommendation stated that some commissions lack the experienced and trained personnel which would be necessary to implement the 1⁄2 point system. In other words inexperienced judges would not be able to call many of the near submissions that become considerations of rewarding a 1⁄2 point.
Edmonton also had numerous fighters to fill in a brief questionnaire regarding the 1⁄2 point system as well as (open MMA scoring). The questionnaire is as follows:
In relation to the testing phase: It appears that changing the current scoring system when only a marginal amount of fights would be affected (2% if you reference CAMO, and 4.85% if you reference Edmonton), would not be a significant reason to adopt this change.
As such the committee makes the following recommendations:
1. Thecommitteemaintainsitcurrentpositionthatthehiringofcompetentjudges by each Commission is of paramount importance. Judges must possess a keen understanding of the sport of MMA. Judges must also have a detailed understanding as to how the current judging criteria (10 point must system) is applied to MMA.
2. Thecommittee maintains that the ongoing training of judges isvital and that each Commission should assess and evaluate the training of their officials in their respective jurisdictions.
3. The committee is confident that the restructuring of the current judging criteria as proposed at the ABC 2012 conference will help aid the judges in making more accurate scores.
The committee’s recommendation to the ABC membership with respect to the 1⁄2 point system is as follows:
Keep the current 10 point must system for MMA.
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